Every year, we face natural disasters that ruin lives and destroy infrastructure. Every year, we have the same problems- lack of access to necessities, power outages, flooding, and fatalities due to hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and tornadoes. We offer a solution to a problem that arises often during these disasters- a lack of access to 911 dispatchers due to an influx of calls because people often call 911 for minor reasons if they are frightened by a natural disaster. We also took a look at the devastation that Hurrican Maria caused to the people of Puerto Rico- with a death toll of nearly 3,000 lives. 911 lines were often flooded with calls and people with the most serious of situations didn't get the help they needed in time.
What it does
Our app targets children and teaches children how to self-treat minor injuries such as bug bites, cuts, and bee stings. In the case of a natural disaster, children can use this offline app to empower themselves by having basic first aid knowledge. If the child is injured and not near a parent or guardian, they can follow the steps to perform first aid on minor injuries. We made the app as usable for very young children as possible, and all treatments can be played out loud in English or Spanish so children with limited reading proficiency will be able to follow the intuitive design. In addition, our app is completely translated into both Spanish and English because we wanted it to be accessible to more children. Another major feature of our app is the emergency feature which immediately opens the phone app with 911 dialed. There is a second step of verification to ensure that the child does not accidentally use this feature. A very young child can be taught to open the app and press the button without having to memorize the number and type it in when time means saving a life. The app is based in expo so it is available on iOS and Android.
How we built it
We started by creating a flow diagram of the entire app including all of the basic information we had from prior knowledge about first aid. Next, we started with a react native framework and then used the expo IDE to run the program. We used the expo text to speech library, the react native call library and scraped open source data on basic first aid. During the process, we created our own icons and a GitHub-based page to link to the published expo.
Challenges we ran into
Our biggest challenge was linking within react native to open the phone app with an emergency number pre-typed in. We managed to look at old StackOverflow questions and answers of varying degrees of relevancy so we could tweak our own code. (Please note that one of our personal numbers is in place of 911 for demo purposes, this will be adjusted after the end of the hackathon and demo sessions).
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of how easy this app is for young children to use and people with limited proficiency in English because we have a complete translation into Spanish using an online library, and we personally vetted the grammar.
What we learned
We learned how to think from a perspective we do not currently have, that of a young child, in order to build an app that would be intuitive and accessible to a multitude of children at varying ages. This line of thinking led everything from our font choices to the speed of the text to voice readings of the first aid instructions.
What's next for Vendaje
We hope to add to the first aid instructions by including instructional animations of how to administer CPR and how to administer the Heimlich maneuver. We also plan to use online libraries to translate our app into more languages so our app has even more accessibility. Furthermore, our moonshot idea is to use Google's new AI phone calling capabilities to allow people who can't speak because of imminent threatening persons, choking, or lack of knowledge of the most common native languages to select pre-made phrases in the language they understand such as "Send help I can't breathe" or "Send help I am being threatened by an intruder" to be translated to English and included in an AI led call to a 911 dispatcher. We also would want the AI to tell the 911 dispatcher the caller's current location.